The following plan outlines China’s priorities for “military-civil fusion” in the years 2016-2020. The plan aims to reduce existing stovepipes between the military and civilian innovation ecosystems in China. The Chinese term “military-civil fusion” refers to the mutually reinforcing two-way flow of technology and other resources between the military and civilian sectors.
The Chinese source text is available online at: https://web.archive.org/web/20200531235848/http://www.most.gov.cn/mostinfo/xinxifenlei/fgzc/gfxwj/gfxwj2017/201708/W020170824580027341808.doc
Translator: Etcetera Language Group, Inc.
Editor: Ben Murphy, CSET Translation Lead
According to the strategic deployments of the Party Central Committee, the State Council, and the Central Military Commission, and in order to fully implement the military-civil fusion (军民融合) development strategy in the field of science and technology (S&T), this Plan has been prepared based on the Outline of the 13th Five-Year Plan1 for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China, Outline of the National Innovation-Driven Development Strategy,2 Opinions of the CPC Central Committee, State Council, and Central Military Commission on the Integrated Development of Economic Construction and National Defense Construction, “13th Five-Year” National S&T Innovation Plan, State Council and Central Military Commission “13th Five-Year” Plan for Integrated Development of Economic Construction and National Defense Construction, and Outline of the “13th Five-Year” Plan for Military Construction and Development.
I. Current Circumstances and Requirements
Positioned at the intersection of the national innovation-driven development strategy, military-civil fusion development strategy, and the strategy of building a strong military through reform (改革强军战略), S&T military-civil fusion is the strategic deployment of the Party Central Committee for the development of S&T innovation, a major measure to improve the level of national defense and military modernization construction, and a powerful engine to promote S&T innovation and economic development.
During the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan, according to the overall deployments of the Party Central Committee, the State Council, and the Central Military Commission concerning military-civil fusion and S&T innovation, China built and improved its weapons and equipment research and production system through the ideas of military-civil integration (军民结合) and embedding the military sector in the civilian sector (寓军于民). China vigorously promoted the construction of an integrated military-civil research equipment sharing platform, increased the openness of military-civil S&T resources and the mutual transfer of dual-use technologies between military and civilian institutions, and initially established a military-civil fusion S&T innovation system for national defense. Since the 18th Party Congress, the military-civil fusion development strategy has been thoroughly implemented in the S&T field. China has engaged in active exploration and bold innovation, the awareness of S&T military-civil fusion has gradually increased, the environment for fusion is becoming more robust every day, and the practice of fusion is constantly being enriched. In Zhongguancun, China (Mianyang) Science and Technology City, and other national independent innovation demonstration areas and regions, a number of vehicles and platforms have been established, such as collaborative innovation research institutes for military-civil fusion, dual-use technology innovation bases, and military-civil fusion technology parks. These areas also explored and established military-civil and cross-department innovation models for S&T military-civil fusion. Joint military-civil breakthroughs have led to the successful implementation of a number of major military-civil fusion projects in the S&T field, including manned spaceflight and lunar exploration projects, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, high-resolution earth observation systems, the Tianhe-2 supercomputer, the Kuaizhou (快舟) satellite launch system, and Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS; Micius; 量子通信卫星). Innovative entities such as universities, scientific research institutes, high-tech enterprises, and military industrial groups actively practice S&T military-civil fusion and have achieved good results. The environmental conditions for the development of S&T military-civil fusion have been continuously improved and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Promoting the Commercialization of Scientific and Technological Achievements (《中华人民共和国促进科技成果转化法》) has been revised to comprehensively implement the National Defense Intellectual Property Strategy, providing strong support for the development of technological innovation and industrialization for military-civil fusion.
At the same time, we must soberly realize that China still faces some problems in the development of S&T military-civil fusion, which are primarily apparent in the following areas: There is not yet a sufficient recognition of the characteristics, laws, and essential requirements of S&T military-civil fusion; S&T military-civil fusion lacks top-level design and macro-level coordination, lacks coordination and linkages among the departments responsible for organization and management and those responsible for work and operations, and lacks a collaborative innovation system for S&T military-civil fusion; China lacks effective connections between S&T military-civil fusion planning and basic resource sharing, the evaluation criteria to promote the two-way transfer and commercialization of achievements are not clear, the incentives are insufficient, the channels of connection are not smooth, the overall benefits and potential of S&T military-civil fusion have yet to be tapped, and the collaborative innovation capabilities of S&T military-civil fusion need to be strengthened; and a policy system for S&T military-civil fusion has not yet been established and the institutional environment involving S&T military-civil fusion needs to be optimized.
The period of the 13th Five-Year Plan is a critical stage in the transition of Chinese military-civil fusion from preliminary fusion to in-depth fusion. The development of S&T military-civil fusion will face unprecedented opportunities and challenges during this period. With the rapid progress of a new round of scientific and technological revolutions, industrial transformations, and military revolutions (军事革命) sweeping the world, military technology and civil technology are becoming more and more deeply intertwined and integrated, with increasing cross-penetration and compatibility. The development of S&T military-civil fusion is an inevitable choice in order to conform to global trends and patterns. S&T military-civil fusion is a basic requirement for the implementation of national strategic arrangements and a major embodiment of national strategic arrangements in the S&T field. It is a clear key task for comprehensively deepening S&T structural reform as well as national defense and military reform. It is also a fundamental requirement for further stimulating the vitality of institutions and mechanisms in order to realize the integration of a rich country and a strong military and promote innovative development for both the country and the military. In the next five years, China’s economic development will enter a new normal characterized by a changing speed, structural optimization, and a change in economic drivers. As the revolution in military affairs with Chinese characteristics (中国特色军事变革) continues to deepen, the gap between China’s national defense construction and the world’s major military powers is gradually narrowing. To promote national economic construction, implement the overall national security concept, and safeguard national security and strategic interests, there is an urgent need to establish a complete, unified, efficient, and open system for military-civil collaborative innovation in S&T, promote breakthroughs in S&T innovation, seek advantages in military S&T, cultivate strategic emerging industries, improve our military strength for national defense, and assist economic construction and national defense construction.
- Translator’s note: China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (第十三个五年规划; “十三五”) is in effect for the years 2016-2020. Spin-off plans of the 13th Five-Year Plan, such as this one on military-civil fusion, provide additional details on China’s economic policies for specific industries or sectors during the 2016-2020 timeframe.
- Translator’s note: For an English translation of this document, see: https://cset.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/t0076_innovation_driven_development_strategy_EN.pdf.